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In Surah Nisa, verse 136, Allah says:

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Before the first stop (jeem), Allah describes the Qur'an with "nazzala" (نَزَّلَ), while he describes the previous books with "anzala" (أَنزَلَ).

Both of these come from the same root verb, nazala, which means "to descend, to go down." The first is baab two, which is a more severe form, while the second looks like the form used often when you cause something to happen (eg. make something descend).

But my Arabic is rusty. What exactly is the difference of meaning of these two verbs, and what's the implication here?

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MashaAllah this is a beautiful observation and profound use of the fi'l.

There are scholarly opinions on the different usage and the beautiful gems behind it.

أنزل comes from the إفعال pattern which denotes something to be sent all at once, whereas نزّل is from the تفعيل pattern which denotes something to be sent down piecemeal or gradually.

In the ayah mentioned, and also the third ayah of Surah Ale Imran (http://quran.com/3/3) - the previous scriptures have been attached to أنزل which again denotes they were sent down or revealed all at once, whereas the Quran was sent down piecemeal depending on various occasions and situations (http://quran.com/17/106) and most appropriately the نزّل form of the fi'l was used - SubhanAllah

Now, one might say what about Surah Qadr where Allah SWT explained the Quran as أنزلناه (we sent it down - http://quran.com/97/1) using the pattern which denotes to send down all at once? The scholars have said, there are two revelations of the Quran. One from the Al Lawh Al Mahfoadh to the heavens and the other from the heavens to the heart of the Messenger S. The first revelation was sent down all at once إنزال and the second revelation was تنزيل or piecemeal.

والله اعلم

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